Pentel has announced the launch of the Izee (pronounced ‘easy’) ballpoint pen, its first new product to be designed exclusively in Europe, for the European market.
Wendy Vickery, Pentel UK marketing manager, told Stationery Matters: "We’ve been working together on plans for Izee for three years, developing prototypes, gauging reaction and finalising production schedules. And we agreed that it would be ideal to enter a new decade with an exciting new product, inspired by the thoughts and comments of the next generation of stationery buyers."
Wendy Vickery continued: “As a European team we identified a gap in the market for an affordable but stylish ballpoint pen that would appeal especially to 15-25 year olds - teenagers and young adults, the next generation of office products purchasers.
“But rather than go ahead and design what we thought would appeal to them, we undertook extensive focus group research to find out exactly what they were looking for in a pen.”
The results were quite surprising, with the research group participants eschewing some of the styling followed by manufacturers over recent years. Out of favour were chunky barrels and grips that sit proud of the main body of the pen. Likewise, participants rejected over-fussy design features, in-your-face branding and ‘drab’, dark colours.
Instead, they expressed enthusiasm for slimline barrels, subtle branding, brighter, fashionable colours and grips that sit flush with the barrel of the pen. The carefully curated feedback was fed into a design brief which has resulted in a pen designed by millennials for millennials.
Izee is available in two versions, a cap-style and a retractable format. In common with most new-generation ballpoint pens from Pentel, Izee benefits from low-viscosity ink, which delivers smooth flowing writing, without skipping or blobbing.
The key design feature is a honeycomb patterned integral finger grip that provides a comfortable and controllable writing experience appearing in relief of the slimline barrel. Another important feature is the strong, robust metal pocket clip that features a monogram letter ‘P’ for ‘Pentel’ at the end.
Available in 1.0mm medium tip size, Izee is supplied in eight colours, including black, blue, pink and violet. Pentel takes its environmental responsibility seriously and therefore each Izee pen is refillable.
The launch of Izee is being supported by a major social media campaign, primarily through Instagram, designed to reach the core target audience on their favoured platform. “Our activity will target our core audience and is designed to be amusing and memorable,” said Wendy Vickery.
Izee, however, aims to appeal to all ages. The retractable version will retail at £0.85 each, while the cap-style pen has a recommended price of £0.74. A range of high-impact merchandising is available for customers, including 48 and 96-piece displays, featuring the honeycomb motif on the header, plus an eight-piece wallet and mixed blister cards.
Wendy Vickery added: “It’s great to start 2020 with such an exciting new product launch and we’re looking forward to helping customers realise every opportunity to develop sales of Izee, which we’re sure will inspire the next generation of office products buyers to get writing with a pen designed by them,” concluding that "2020 is an important year for us. Not only do we launch Izee, but it’s the 50th anniversary of Pentel in the UK, plus our quick-drying EnerGel range will be 20 years old later in the year. So, there’s plenty to celebrate for us and our customers!"